I have been very inspired by working on a goal I set last year which was to read one meditation every day from a book titled The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie the author of Codependent No More. It is a great book and daily reminder to take care of myself, to continue to take the reigns of my own life and to enjoy it! A week or so ago, I took the picture of that goal off my vision board and placed it in my vision board success binder. Feels good! And I’m so grateful for a year of inspiration.
One of the main themes of recovery (and I’d guess that most people have need of recovery of some sort), is self-care which is a big topic for women young and old. So I’ve been thinking of how to offer some inspiration about the whys and hows of self-care, which brings me to a couple of thought questions for you today:
1 If you have a goal in mind, do you then take the time to actually write it out, split it into small, doable pieces and schedule it into your daily/monthly/yearly plan?
2 When problems arise in your day to day life, or in the lives of your family members or friends, do you feel that you need to drop your life, your routine, your goals, your self-care to be able to figure things out or help someone solve their problem? And do you find that you abandon your daily plan and begin to obsessively think about the problem(s)? How would you answer these questions today?
I could truly write the book on goals and boundaries. I have learned what NOT to do, because of my own codependent thinking and behavior. But, we can be taught and we can truly change! Glory be!
For years, at the first of each year, I would think about the things I wanted to work on and I’d have visions of all that I would accomplish, the books I would read, the projects I would complete, the book I would write, and that vision would kick around in my head for about two weeks.
After a month, I would be hard pressed to remember the details of my dreams and in two months, I would become busy putting out daily “fires,” feeling too busy to think of anything else and my “goals” were abandoned altogether. Anyone relate to this way of living? I could also take the prize for all the times I have let go of my routine and caring for myself so that I could jump into problem solving, and abandon my own best interests for the “pseudo-fix” of fixing someone else.
Who’d have thought goal setting so important and that sticking to our plan so self-nurturing! In some cases, literally keeping us out of other people’s business so that we don’t become enabling parents/friends/spouses.
So goals can be boundaries? Absolutely! I assert that they can be very helpful and instructive limits.
Remember that boundaries are the things that define me, what I like, what I don’t like, what I will do and what I won’t do. I don’t have to apologize for them, they are just mine. So the extension of those boundaries includes the things I want to accomplish! What I want to read, how I want to spend my time and where I will place my focus. Deciding things like, how many times I will allow myself to be distracted by my phone during the day, when I will be home to greet and care for school children, what I am cooking this week, etc.
Here are the logistics; first, you allow yourself to start imagining how you want to live your life, you allow yourself to dream! Then, you take your ideas seriously and plan out how you will go about doing them. Now you are goal setting. (You could also say, you are setting boundaries!) Remember your intentions get serious then when you get out your calendar and put pieces of that goal-reaching process on a time-line. “This month, I’ll get 1/4 of this project done.” And then breaking it down further, “each day I will do this piece.” How much more likely is it that you’ll stick with your goal when you have the progress charted out like this? Far greater right? Well, there’s still a potential stick-in-the-spokes. It’s how do you deal with the problems that will arise!
Which takes us to the second question and here’s the rub. When you choose your course, you are setting your boundary. When you abandon that course because you or someone else has a problem, you are crossing your boundary. (And some of you will remember, “the red flag of anger” or possibly resentment that starts flying when boundaries get crossed!) What’s worse is that moving into boundarylessness leads to obsessing over problems, disregarding our self-care habits and in the long run, does more harm than good.
It’s OK to live your own life with your own family. You are the only one who is mother to those particular people, and the only one who has a mother’s stewardship over them. Everything else that needs to be done in the community or in the extended family can, and needs to be shared by many. What only you can do, requires your focus. Understatement right?
It’s OK to have boundaries. It’s OK and even benevolent and supportive to walk beside others emotionally for support, while letting them carry their own problems. When your own problems arise, you don’t have to abandon caring for yourself and then start obsessing over that problem until it is solved. You can keep your life in place, own your routine, live in your own skin. And little by little, you will figure out the solutions without sacrificing your health and heaven forbid your sense of humor for it!
And in time, your confidence will soar as you see yourself becoming healthier in mind and body, having accomplished many praiseworthy things and bringing about much good.
We are in a process. We are learning. We are becoming. With every intentional step we take, we are caring for ourselves and that in turn nurtures the family.
Love, love, love,